Give Me Those Star Wars 38: David Prowse: Green Cross, Black Helmet

Give Me Those Star Wars returns to pay tribute to David Prowse, the actor who portrayed Darth Vader in the first three Star Wars films. Prowse died in November 2020. For this special memorial episode, Ryan Daly presents some thoughts and memories of the actor and his roles as the Dark Lord as well as the Green Cross Code Man from Fire and Water Network all-stars Rob Kelly, Chris Franklin, and the Irredeemable Shag, as well as friends and Star Wars fans Andrew Leyland, Jarrod Alberich, Mark Marble, Angela Drew, and Jon and Maggie Schaefer-Hames. Plus, listener feedback from last episode.

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7 responses to “Give Me Those Star Wars 38: David Prowse: Green Cross, Black Helmet

  1. Thank you for a great tribute episode for David Prowse. It was great to hear so many contributors talk about his acting career. Being a Canadian, I had no idea about his portrayal of Green Cross Man until much later when I was nerdly deep diving on Star Wars trivia. I really enjoy how he is on the record on how he considered this his best role and shows you his character.

    This may sound silly, but my strongest (an earliest) memory of Darth Vader is him choking that Rebel officer and then pointing to Princess Leia accusing her of being part of the Rebel Alliance. I don’t know why, but that was very frightening for a young me. “The scary man can kill indiscriminately and is now accusing me of something!”

    His amazing movement, with his arm stretched out, at the end of Empire with the big reveal of him being Luke’s father is amazing, as well. I would say it’s probably the most recognized image of Vader. I would agree with Jared Albrecht with the scene of Vader being conflicted at the end of Return of the Jedi. It’s so well done with just his physicality and resonates with emotionally with the music. Which makes me want to throw my two cents in: Darth Vader is a coloration of 3 men; David Prowse, James Earl Jones, and John Williams. That music instantly tells you what kind of man Darth Vader is. Sometimes, all you needed was the physicality of Prowse and the music of Williams, like above mentioned scene at the end of Return of the Jedi.

    This was a great episode even though it was tinged with sadness on the passing of a legend. He will be missed.

  2. Delightful show about a figure who looms large over geekdom. My pick for Prowse’s best moment as Vader is the same as Angela’s – just a sublime bit of business, which he performs not only masked, but mostly with his back to the camera.

    Also, thanks to Neil for recommending the SC38 version of the Vader/Ben duel. Never seen that before, and it’s pretty great!

  3. What a cool thing to do! So much attention has been paid over the decades to James Earl Jones’ vocal performance as Darth Vader (and deservedly so) that David Prowse’s physical performance is often overlooked. But, he brought so much presence and vitality to a character that could have easily been played as just some homicidal automaton. What will always stick out to me is how Prowse was able to make Vader seem just as menacing while standing perfectly as when he is erupting into sudden violence.

    While I don’t remember seeing Star Wars: A New Hope in the theaters, I do remember going to see The Empire Strikes Back at the theater as a five year old. Vader in Empire scared me in all the best ways possible in that the fear made me cringe just enough to keep me invested in the story, but not so much that I was too afraid to keep watching. And, my reaction is due in no small part to Prowse’s embodiment of the character.

    I hope Prowse passed away knowing just how impactful his performance was to so many children over the decades. May he rest in peace.

  4. This was a nice show, and surprisingly upbeat considering the reason it exists. I had no idea Prowse had another role he was so proud of. #TheMoreYouKnow

  5. A big thanks to everyone, who participated in this tribute. As a young fan, I was aware of the role James Earl Jones played in bringing Vader to life, but it wasn’t until much later that I realized David Prowse’s critical contribution to the character. So, it was good to learn more about the man and his work here.

    Like Angela, I find Vader’s reaction to the Falcon’s escape from Cloud City to be one of my favorite Vader moments in any of the movies. I hadn’t really thought of it before Angela and Ryan brought it up, but that’s all due to David Prowse.

  6. Excellent episode! So many great memories and stories.

    One of my favorite Prowse parts for Vader was in Ep 4 in the board room scene. These military mucky-mucks are sniping, and Vader just skulks around, above their squabbling. Then there’s his hand grasping the air, and that close up for “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” Chilling.

    I truly wonder how much Prowse’s performance informed James Earl Jones’ voice acting. It’s kind of the opposite of animation, where the voice comes first. Here the filming comes first, and I have to think Prowse inspired choices made by Jones.

    Thank you, everyone! Wonderful job, Ryan.

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